Termites are believed to have existed as far back as the Cretaceous Period. Recent research revealed that termites are actually wood-eating cockroaches. There are approximately 4,000 different species of termites, but only about 10% of them are among the types that inflict serious damage on structures, crops and forests. They feed mostly feed on decayed plants, wood, leaves, soil and animal waste. Termites are social insects that live in large colonies and can be found globally except for Antarctica. As destructive as termites can be, they are also an important part of the ecosystem by hollowing timbers that provide shelter for a large number of wood-inhabiting species.